TORONTO, Ont. – The McMaster Marauders are heading back to their second straight OUA championship game after holding off the Toronto Varsity Blues by a final score of 3-2 (23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 23-25, 15-9) on Friday night at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The Marauders overcame a difficult first set where they outhit the Varsity Blues but couldn’t find their service game. McMaster committed seven errors from the service line and fell 25-23 in the opening set.
The No. 6 nationally ranked Marauders found their game in the second, hitting for a .300 percentage and putting up a tough defence that forced Toronto into eight errors. That was all the difference McMaster needed as they cruised to a 25-18 set win to even the match at 1-1.
In the third it looked as though the Varsity Blues would reclaim the match lead, holding a 16-11 advantage at the technical timeout. McMaster had other plans though, as a 7-0 run out of the stoppage gave the Marauders an 18-16 lead that they never relinquished. McMaster took the set 25-22 and the 2-1 overall lead.
A back and forth fourth set came down to the final moments. Tied at 22-22, the OUA east player of the year Alina Dormann came up big for Toronto with a kill that gave the Varsity Blues the critical lead. Toronto’s Jenna Woock then gave the Blues some breathing room as she served up an ace. After McMaster took a point to make it 24-23 Toronto, the set ended on a Maruaders attack error which sent the match to the fifth and deciding set.
The fifth set was all McMaster as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead which burned through both of Toronto’s timeouts. The Marauders led 8-3 at the switch but the brief stoppage allowed Toronto to gather themselves and make a small run. The Blues got to within four at 9-5 but a 4-0 McMaster run – powered by three kills from Aleks Arsovic – put the game out of reach. The Marauders would clinch the set 15-9 to send them back to the OUA final.
“I think when we settled out the serve in the first set we kind of settled down a little bit there and applied a bit of the game plan,” said Marauders head coach Tim Louks after the match. “I was really pleased with bits and pieces; a lot of good individual efforts. For us [now] we need more in the tank because we’ve got [Ryerson] who have proved in the regular season they’re the best team in the conference right now.”
McMaster’s Arsovic was named the player of the game for the Marauders with a game-high 22 points and 21 kills while adding 17 digs. Toronto’s Anna Feore was the player of the game for the Varsity Blues following a 21 point, 19 kill, 15 dig performance.
The Marauders advance to the Quigley Cup championship game against the Ryerson Rams, winners of the first semifinal over the Western Mustangs. First serve is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. from Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre.
Toronto will battle Western for the bronze medal at 3:00 p.m.
Source: Ryerson Rams